NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ758990
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1470-8175
DNA Replication and Transcription: An Innovative Teaching Strategy
Fossey, Annabel; Hancock, Carolyn
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v33 n6 p411-415 Nov 2005
First-year students in genetics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, attend two general biology modules, one in each semester. Teaching involves four formal lectures per week of 45 min each, one 3-h practical, and one lecture period tutorial. These students, graduating from secondary education, are well schooled in rote learning but are limited in critical thinking and find assessment questions belonging to the higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy difficult. All students attend the formal lectures together, up to 300 students, whereas for the tutorials they are grouped into small groups, no more than 40 students in a tutorial class, allowing for innovative teaching strategies. Students find the processes of DNA replication and transcription difficult because of the sequential steps involved in the processes together with limitations imposed by the enzymes involved. Furthermore, they find the significance and relationships between the different components of the processes very difficult. A tutorial was developed in which students are requested to demonstrate replication with line drawings, which are then used in various iterations of transcription. The tutorial is administered in the presence of a tutor that guides the step by step execution of the tutorial while stimulating active participation. In the past 2 years, the presentation of this and other similar tutorials in genetics has improved overall class performance on average by 15%. Furthermore, students seem to display a greater retention from the first year to the second, which was previously rather limited. A survey among first-year students revealed that the implementation of this tutorial facilitated studying and recall by helping students to organize thoughts, picture the sequence of events, understand fundamental concepts, and create a feeling of confidence.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Subscription Department, 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa